Between civilization and barbarism

Image: Tejas Prajapati


The Brazilian bourgeoisie uses the Nietzschean ethics, which opposes the strong to the weak

In the countryside, agribusiness exposes the colonialist view of the territory and the original peoples, as evidenced by the invasion of indigenous areas by export-type agriculture and livestock “to pass the cattle”, in the Amazon. Legislation is a dead letter for those who consider themselves the “owners of the land”. The extension of the protection of labor rights to rural activities was never accepted, in fact. Extractivism and slave labor are side crimes of the domination of the neocolonizers. By the way, see the movie Pureza (2022), by Renato Barbieri, inspired by real and revolting facts.

In the city, businessmen who are predators of rights, for whom mismanagement works as a “captain of the bush” at the service of accumulation, have the same colonial-slavery vision. They do not forgive the inclusion of domestic workers in the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT), with the mandatory work permit, vacations and Christmas bonus. They prefer the labor and social security reform, the public spending ceiling and privatist surrender, stamped by coup dummy Michel Temer; the traitor who tore up the elected government program with President Dilma Rousseff. According to the newspaper Metropolis, sectors of the business community – with the caricatured “old man from Havan” and a pastiche of the Statue of Liberty at the fore – are plotting the next coup if the “Front together for Brazil” led by Lula wins the elections. The republican idea of ​​popular sovereignty frightens them. They hate democracy.

In the arc that comprises the countryside and the city, the block of classes hegemonized by finance does not have an authentic national project. The domain it exercises has no commitment to the future. Its grammar boils down to oppression and exploitation. Its syntax is an ode to the relationship of command and obedience. Centuries of slavery shaped the lack of empathy with the humble and, at the same time, the mongrel complex of the dominant classes in the face of foreign powers. Before, on trips to the Portuguese metropolis, Lisbon; now, to the American tackiness of Miami.

The Brazilian bourgeoisie makes use of the Nietzschean ethics, which opposes the strong to the weak. Blacks, women, gays, manual workers, the illiterate and the poor in general are the subordinates of the board. Victims of prejudice, they occupy secondary places in the productive circuit, when they can. They lack the status of citizenship, announced in the emancipatory promises (freedom, equality, fraternity) of the French Revolution, at the dawn of the Modern Age. In the condition of precarious sub-citizens and excluded from the predicates of the species, a vast portion of the population is stripped of opportunities and dignity. The system alienates it from the ideals of human sociability. As in the song: “No one lived in the pain that was their evil / our pain does not appear in the newspaper”.

For Antonio Gramsci, in the 1930s, the struggle to build a counter-hegemony involved combating: (a) common sense, that is, the ideology of the powerful to justify socioeconomic subordination and; (b) the religion that then legitimized state repression against social movements and, in the papacy of Pius XII, was colluding with the rise of Nazi-fascism in Italy and Germany. Since then, the instruments of alienation have become more sophisticated, expanded and widespread. A recontextualization of the notes above, today, implies unmasking: (i) the disguised discourse of meritocracy that hides birth inequalities and; (ii) the hypocritical theology that uses the good faith of the faithful to enrich the pastors/worshipers of the “golden calf”. Unmasking already.


Freedom even late

In France in 1945, people believed that the USSR had won World War II. However, a survey carried out with the later generation pointed to a change in perception due to the effect of Hollywood filmography, presenting the USA as the victors. Marshall McLuhan reveals that “the media influence the reception of messages”. Shoshana Zuboff denounces “the era of surveillance capitalism”, where algorithms unravel consumers' desire to predict and direct consumption. Eugênio Bucci, when studying the “superindustry of the imaginary” concludes that “close to that, the 1984 by George Orwell is a children's fable. The immense potential contained in technological advances has not reinvigorated representation or participation, but the power of big techs.

In the field of politics, the extreme right uses the technological resources available to rig the polls. Any expedient is valid (robots, fake news, deep fakes) so that the media can overdetermine and manipulate the will of the electorate. This is the height of the conversion of everything and everyone into objects of decoration, in the society of spectacle. It characterizes the emerging pattern of political-electoral confrontation, towards the illiberal State, which subjugates becoming to the calculation of cold rationality in the race to overcome ethics and law. In the speech of the former Secretary of Culture of Florence, Giuliano Da Empoli, in The Chaos Engineers (Trace): “In the world of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, every day brings a gaffe, a controversy, the outbreak of a scandal”. The systematic disruption of constitutional norms and laws creates a new habitus, among the commons. With the sewer lid open, fanaticism, intolerance, ignorance and corruption rose to the top.

O habitus, in the sense of Pierre Bourdieu, in this case, in addition to establishing a scheme of action (“cracks”), sediments lasting cognitive structures (racist, sexist), engenders taste (green-yellow CBF T-shirt), ethical judgments (selective, that ignore 51 properties purchased in cash), cultural practices (from unequal traditions) and political preferences (authoritarian and totalitarian) that send the country's destiny to dystopia.

Belonging to a class, group or professional category entails similar experiences and positions in the hierarchy of capitalism. Thus, inequalities, stigmas, injustices and privileges are reproduced. Individuals act conditioned by objective structures, but they also act influenced by the answers given in situations that make up their experiences, throughout history (00,01,02,03,04).

Each person has a double; on the one hand, the singularity of a limited and perishable body and, on the other, the collectives that confer self-esteem, recognition and public identity to channel profiles on the political and ideological plane. Neo-fascist bubbles are distinguished by the symbolic signs of violence, instead of respecting the “rules of the game” proper to the democratic rule of law. The ogres apply tactics to test and stretch, further and further, the limits of tolerance of institutions. Intimidation, discriminatory, misogynistic or homophobic aggression are part of the menu of those who don't know how to eat with cutlery, and even keep their mouths shut at a wake.

The lies brazenly reiterated in Bolsonarist radio and television propaganda during the campaign, without the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) restoring the truth and applying the appropriate sanctions, added to the gun-toting threats to militants and supporters of the progressive candidacy, with deaths accounted for the example of the PT Marcelo Arruda, in Paraná - leave no doubt that the values ​​of civilization are in dispute against the devaluations of barbarism and destruction. To save the Republic, it is a moral duty to remove the genocide in the first round.

At the moment, neither Ciro Gomes (PDT) nor Simone Tebet (MDB) seem to think about the dramatic dilemma Brazil is experiencing. They minimize the significance of 400 preventable deaths in the pandemic, the result of denialism about the viral disease and vaccination, by the most sordid and lying ruler on the planet. They minimize the dynamics of deindustrialization underway, the multitude of unemployed and the forgotten millions who suffer from food insecurity and hunger. They minimize the attacks to arm the arsenal of organized crime and promote the brutal regression of the country to the militia “state of nature”. With a face of scenery, both still support the candidacy for the Palácio do Planalto, without metabolizing the consequences of the dangerous flirtation with the tragedy. As in Bertolt Brecht's poem: “Why don't you visit our fairs? Don't stay so long at the table!"

The “third way”, leveraged by the corporate media for months on end, failed. Pedistas and emedebistas voters cannot leave their conscience hostage to the vanity of leaders who behave as an auxiliary line of neo-fascism (hence, neoliberalism). Good politics demands coherence and detachment. No more challenging the gods on the roulette wheel of irresponsibility. It is time to put the historical process and hope back on the rails of democracy. Free when it will be tamen.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.


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